1965-06-18 - See My Vest
Summary: Tony shows off a little something he's been working on to Bucky and Steve.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
steve-rogers bucky tony 

Someone survived his first Father's Day. Happily, the polyps/clones/puppies weren't aware of it at the time. They're still being kept up in the mansion's upper stories, though they seem to get out from time to time on their own.

But now Buck's down in the basement, safe from the scrutiny of those seven pairs of eyes, if not the link between the nine of them. The end of Tony maintaining the arm - Buck's wiping it down with a cloth that smells of solvent.

The lab is cluttered, and God only knows Tony's system of organization. If he has one. "There," he tells Bucky, "that should do you for another couple weeks. Hey, while I've got you, I want to show you something." Off to one side there's a tailor's mannequin wearing a vest of a dense, thick material. Another sample of the material lays on a table, pocked with bullet holes.

"Remmember how I was going to make you body armor?" Tony says. "Here's proof positive I keep some of my promises. The rest of the world isn't going to see anything like this for a few years or more, but I've got you covered."

What else is there for Steve to do on a down day than work out and catch up on past decades? Clearly wander down into the laboratory of the Avengers Mansion. He's got a plate with a mostly-finished one half triangle-cut of tuna sandwich on it in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other hand. He's in a blue-plaid button-down shirt and jeans and upon seeing the two other men clustered about a mannequin, he wanders over. He speaks, of course, once his mouth is clear of food debris because manners and all.

"Hope you've made some progress since this piece here," and he gestures to the sample with the gun damage with his plate-hand. "Otherwise, whomever's underneath it will be sporting some extra holes they probably didn't sign up for." The Captain then sips his coffee after he leans on the nearby counter. Mmm, delicious lunch. What's lab protocol?

That has the Soldier's dark brows heading for hsi hairline, lips pursing a little, as he shrugs his t-shirt on. He ambles over to the armor, examines it, then lifts it off the mannequin. It takes him a moment to figure out how to don it, but he does, settling it into place, shrugging like a man testing the fit of a suit jacket. "What's it made out of?" he asks, grinning at Tony, even as he wave that alloy hand at Steve.

Tony glances over at Steve and flashes him a bright smile. Holding up a finger, he says, "You'd think so, but check this out." He flips the material sample over, and the fabric is intact. The bullets haven't penetrated all the way. "Don't get me wrong; if he gets shot, it's not going to tickle, but he'll be able to walk away from it."

He adjusts the vest on Bucky to see how it lays. It hasn't been finished by any stretch. It'll need reinforced stitching. "Poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide," he tells Bucky. "Tightly packed, heat resistant. There's a woman at DuPont making some amazing breakthroughs with this stuff, but I don't think she has any idea what she's got her hands on." He makes a few marks on the vest where seams will be. "The downside is we just don't have the technology to mass produce this stuff. This is about all we've got, but it should be enough to keep you alive."

Steve watches the genius-inventor fuss with the vest once it's upon Bucky himself and his brows knit. It reassures him to see that the opposite side of the warped material can act almost as a catcher's mit for the projectiles, but…Tony's not wrong. By the looks of it, it'll still sting and bruise something fierce.

"If you get this mass-produced, Tony, I can name a good number of local ground forces who would take advantage of it. One less thing to worry about in a firefight when the SWAT teams accompany us here in the States." Then he takes another huge bite of sammich, not quite looking as a blond chipmunk. The coffee cup ends up set next to the experimental sample, with its inner lining and all.

He's got that shy, pleased smile on, as he looks down at it, and up at Tony. "Thanks," he says, fingering the fabric. "Man, he's right. I hope this is the first of many," he says, with real fervor. "Imagine. Bulletproof clothing. How many lives would be saved with this…"

There's the old enthusiasm as he looks at Steve, grinning. "God knows I been shot enough to need something like that." Steve dragged him off the battlefield bleeding, more than once. The old blue coat had its share of bulletholes, back in the day. Long since rotted to rags, surely, in some Soviet trashcan.

"We'll get there," Tony tells Steve. "They're developing this stuff to make tires, if you can believe it." They just don't have his deeply instilled sense of warfare, for better or worse. The panels of fabric are about an inch thick, and they've got weight to them, but it's nothing that will even slow someone like Bucky down. "Keep in mind, it won't do you any good if you get shot in the head so, you know, duck a lot."

Tony makes a few more marks, thinking aloud as he says, "The finished product will be encased in black fabric to reduce ultraviolet degradation. All the same, it should be kept out of the sun. It works better in the cold, but you can't always pick your battlefields."

Steve slowly shakes his head at his oldest friend. "I remember, at one point, you became so used to being shot that you'd just yelp and wave your hand. Heck, the triage unit knew you were heading in because I walked into the infirmary." The blond's amusement is edged with that old ragged concern that never goes away, not even decades later and continents apart from the original fray.

He reaches out and touches the vest itself, feeling at its density and then slipping a finger underneath the lay of the fabric over Bucky's shoulder. A testing lift and he nods. "Dense, but nothing he can't move in," the Captain agrees. "Matte black, to avoid reflection of light off it…the better to blend into shade."

"I shoulda realized how much effect Zola had had," Buck says, slowly. "It was like none of us wanted to realize he'd already altered me permanently. But he had. It just wasn't a dramatic change in how I looked, like Erskine did with Steve," A jerk of his chin takes in the slab of all-American beefcake standing next to him. "I looked the same. Put on some muscle but not as much, and slowly. I thought it was just filling out 'cause I finally had enough food and exercise. But….I could keep up with Steve and an ordinary guy shouldn't'a been able to. Especially someone who grew up poor in the Depression. My wounds never got infected, even when we ran outta sulfa, and they healed fast." There's that sealed-over look on his face, the blue eyes going haunted, focussed not on the bright lab but some vague middle distance.

Tony nods to Steve, who's got it in one: matte black. He glances between Bucky and Steve, nodding again. He's familiar with Rogers' story, having heard it from his dad. Steve had been a bit of a shrimp, and now? Grade-A American Beef. "It's amazing what you can convince yourself of," he says.

He takes the vest off of Bucky and hangs it back on the mannequin. "There are worse things than being strong and though, though," he says. "Even if it's not something we would've chosen. What am I talking about 'we?' I'm still breakable." He raps his knuckles against the vest. "They'll be making suits out of this stuff some day. They just got to get it down to where it's thin as silk."

Chewing the rest of his sandwich silently, the Captain gives his friend a faintly pitying look and makes absolutely certain that he just as quickly pulls a neutral face afterwards.

"We're all still breakable," Steve eventually comments after clearing his mouth with a big swig of black coffee. Someone could probably float a horseshoe in the murky drink. "Some of us take a little longer, is all. It's up to us, suit or no suit, to make sure the bad guys aim at us rather than the little people. That'll be a boon out on the battlefield, both now and in the future," and he nods at the vest placed back on the humanoid-shaped rack.

That's enough to have Buck giving Steven that old look. The one that says, "I don't believe you just said that, Steven Rogers." Then, with the air of a teacher speaking to a very slow student, he says, "No, it's up to us to make sure the bad guys have no target *at all*, Steven." He reaches out, pats the bigger man on the shoulder, "See, this stuff works best when you don't get shot at, period." A pleading look to Tony. Back me up here, Stark.

Tony looks at Bucky and shrugs. "He basically carries around a star-spangled bulls-eye." Hey, don't look at him, his suit is bright red and gold. In his defense: tres stylish. "Ladies and gentleman, the captain and the sniper, defined." He takes up a clipboard and makes a few notes on the vest. "Don't worry, Barnes, you'll blend with this vest. Just bring it back if you get shot in it. It'll need repaired. And studied."

He glances between the two again. "I can't believe I'm actually more like Cap on this one. I'm not saying it's a good idea, but drawing fire isn't the worst idea if you can take it. That's a pretty big 'if' though."

Steve returns said look from Bucky with what starts as a blase expression and then slowly morphs into a good-natured smile once he hears what Tony has to say. He thumbs at Tony.

"See? Buck. You have no faith in me? In the shield? I'd rather draw fire than have civilians be injured. I can take what the world throws at me. I've been told that I'm difficult to kill…like a cockroach, apparently." He wrinkles his nose at the comparison. Then Tony gets the flatter glance. "But the shield is not a bull's-eye," he argues, but without much heat. "It's a symbol of faith in freedom. Naturally, it makes me a target. I can take it." A curt nod affirms his thoughts, that of the man who jumps from airplanes. With no parachute.

Bucky rolls his eyes heavenward, as if begging for patience. "Spare me," he requests, apparently of the Divinity. "I had to go through a whole war with him laboring under that misapprehension." But he nods at Tony. "Will do," he confirms. "I can take it. Could take it. I've lost count of how many times I got shot. Never gets any more fun."

Tony regards Steve with an arched brow. Not a bull's-eye? "Sure," he says. He then admits, "You're not wrong. The stars and stripes isn't looked too kindly upon in some places." He then tells Bucky, "Yeah, avoid it if you can is always the best policy." A brief glance toward Steve. Only brief.

"So when are you two thinking of going back to Russia?" he asks as he sets aside the clipboard. He then sets about… not tidying the lab, but moving stuff over here to over there, shifting the chaos.

"Misapprehension," the blond mutters as he glowers at Bucky, again without much heat. "I got the job done." And hmph to you too, sirrah.

His blue eyes flick from Tony and back to his old friend at the subject of Russia. Steve finds that his coffee cup still has half of its contents available for persual and he considers his reflection in its dark surface before taking a long and equally thoughtful sip of it. "It's more Buck's plan," he finally comments, looking possibly vaguely sheepish for the admission.

"I don't know," he says, quietly. The topic clearly makes him uneasy. "I've still got to deal with some of the mystic stuff. I'm afraid if I go back…..something left of Volga will be waiting. It has to be done." He runs his hands through his hair. "And…..I'm afraidof touching off a third world war, if I'm too obvious. I got as far as I did because most of those there seemed to think my allegiance was still Soviet."

"That's right," Tony says. "You're working with what's his face, right?" He wiggles his fingers, all hocus-pocus. "Can't help you there, I'm afraid. But your vest will be ready by the end of the week." He picks up a repulsor glove and puts it on, turning it this way and that on his hand. "On the upside," he says, "the Soviets are willing to bury their black ops deep, and the chances they'll expose you? You gotta weigh that against their unwillingness to see their magic-cloning experiments revealed. With the obvious downside they'll bury you with it."

"Yes. What's his face. He's…something else." That's about all the Captain has to comment on the particular man in question. He looks to Bucky again as he sips at his coffee. Tony's points are all points that he, in turn, has considered in the wee hours of the night. Thinking about what he saw in the under-dark of the Russian labs is enough to set fine hairs to rising and gooseflesh over his nape and arms.

"I've thought about going public with it," Buck's voice is still halting. "But the kids would jump me, if I tried. Secrecy is still their watchword, and who can blame 'em." That anger is in his posture, the lines of his shoulders…and for a moment, he puts his face in his hands. The fissures appear sometimes, in that facade of calm good nature.

Tony tilts his head as he considers Bucky. "I'll be the last one to lecture you about going public with the truth, but the polyps have a point. Do we even know how the US government would respond to them existing? I'm not seeing a ticker tape parade so much as a cell in SHIELD's basement. Happy Father's Day, by the way." He spent his with a pair of twins young enough to be his daughters, but there's no need to brag. A sidelong glance at Cap silences him. He knows the look he'd get.

"The boys should remain under wraps for now," Steve opines quietly, even gauging the off-chance that anyone's outside of the laboratory in the hallway by his pointed moment of staring in that direction. He looks back to the other two men, wheat-gold brows knitting in a firm frown.

"I came awfully close to becoming someone's gerbil back during the war post-serum. I doubt much has changed in terms of scientists and viewing novelties as lab animals." His jaw sets and relaxes. "Reevaluate after this business with Russia is concluded," he offers as an answer.

Bucky nods at that, grimly. "Yeah. SHIELD….didn't treat 'em like I mighta hoped. There were agents who saw them as an opportunity to revenge themselves for the things I did to SHIELD and its allies." There are a lot of stars on the wall of honor in SHIELD's academy because of him…even if they're close to his own. "I won't yield them to any agency, not now. Not even SHIELD."

"Speaking as a scientist," Tony says, "it's a valid concern. Luckily, I don't work on things that are actually alive." He flashes Bucky a fleeting smile. "Present company excluded." The smile fades, leaving his expression pinched and not unsympathetic. "Best idea to keep them out of any agency is to don't let any agency find out about them."

He takes off the repulsor glove and sets it aside. He's just fidgeting now, not knowing what to do with idle hands that aren't holding a drink. He's quiet for a moment, then says, "All right, scram. I'm going to get to work on some stuff that might, technically, explode." And just like that, he's done with having company downstairs.

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